The word Islam defined by the Quran itself means submission to the Supreme Being and compliance with His laws, which constitutes Nature. Islam lays special emphasis on the acquisition of knowledge.
Concept of vicegerent of man: According to Quran, Allah has made man as a vicegerent due to knowledge (IIm-ul-Asma), when angels argues about the vicegerent of man than Allah (SWT) taught Adam the names of some things and then Adam told them and hence proved his ability for vicegerent on earth. This shows the importance of acquiring knowledge from the Quranic point of view (Surah AL-Baqra Foruth Ruku). It is obligatory alike for both Muslim male and female.
Knowledge is of two types, revealed knowledge and acquired knowledge. Revealed knowledge has been given to human beings, through prophets by Allah. Acquired knowledge is that which is being acquired by the human beings though the study of natural phenomena, attitude of man and through the study of society. Quran says that for the prosperous life on earth both kinds of knowledge, revealed and acquired is necessary. It shows the basis of the educational set-up in Islam where the children are not only equipped with religious knowledge but also with acquired that is scientific knowledge so that they can live a righteous and prosperous life. That is why the knowledge in Islam is considered as the greatest gift of Allah to Man. It helps man to attain righteous and prosperous life. Education is the process through which knowledge is transmitted from a section of society to another section. It also reflects the philosophy on which it is based. Islamic philosophy derives its origin from the spirit of teachings of the Quran and Hadith (the saying of the Holy Prophet may peace be upon him). The Qayas and Fiqqah, are also the crucial components.
The word Quran literally means reading or recitation. Islamic education aims to discovering and formulating Allah’s will.
Quran indicated basic principles that lead a Muslim to observation of the universe and Nature, where he can find the answers to many question by his own efforts.
We would certainly appreciate that how nicely Quran gives hints in respect of various branches of learning and advises man to use intellect. So much so that Quran says in Surah Al-Aaraf that those who do not us their abilities us as intellect, eyes and ears will enter into the fire of hell because they are inferior than animals. It should be noted that the Quran explains the actual practical shape of life by demarking the borders of the various aspect of life.
Quran being a complete code of life says “We have sent down to you the book, as an explanation for everything.”
The Quranic text is divided into 114 chapters. Each chapter is called “Surah” which consist of a certain number of verses each called “Ayah”.
The revelations continued in Quran were not all revealed on one occasion but at long intervals and in response to special needs to the prophet (peace be upon him) lived at Mecca for thirteen years and at Medina for ten years. The revelations which the Prophet (peace be upon him) received in Mecca period are mostly concerned with general percepts that urges strongly and earnestly the man to righteousness.
Quran is not a book of science or any other particular field of knowledge but it deals, mainly with basis principals of human life. Therefore, Quranic concept of education is that it explicitly teaches its readers principles in each and every sphere of life so that its followers have complete knowledge about their pattern of life.
Quran is the fountain head of wisdom, from which all other sources of knowledge derive their authority. It consist of very words of Allah, revealed on Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) in twenty three years, first in Mecca and completed in Medina. The Holy Quran says, “This day have I perfected for you, your religion and completed My favor on your, and chosen for you Islam as a religion.
Islamic education system comprises of the following principles:
1. Belief in the oneness, immateriality, absolute power, mercy and supreme compassionateness of the Creator.
1) Charity and brotherhood among mankind.
2) Subjugation of passion.
3) The outpouring of a grateful heart to the Giver of all good.
4) Accountability of human actions in another existence.
5) Developing a sense of social consciousness i.e. enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong.
The next source of Islamic foundations of education is the Hadith, Ahadith as plural. Hadith derives its authority and validity from Holy Quran. Quran says ‘obey Allah and obey the Messenger’ (4:49). Thus, Hadith offers best explanation or interpretation to Quran.
Ahadith are not only explanatory to the Quranic text but also complementary to it. Prophet (peace be upon him) is a teacher appointed by Allah who not only teaches the Book and philosophy but purifies the soul as well. He (peace be upon him), himself was a role model who presented ideal practical life in the light of those limits enunciated by the Quran. Thus, the Quran declared the Prophet (peace be upon him) to be the interpreter of Quranic texts. Hadith is the index and vehicle of the Sunnah which gives concrete shape to the Quranic teachings. A Hadith is a statement of the Prophet (peace be upon him). A sunnah may be embodied in a Hadith, but is not itself a Hadith. His (peace be upon him) Sunnah is both an instrument for the institutionalization and practice of Allah’s will, as well as a strong force for the propagation of Islam. As we studied earlier that the man is expected to learn through experiments on the foundations given by the Quran and whose example is preserved in the life, activities and saying of Prophet (peace be upon him). The Prophet (peace be upon him) before emigration (Hijrat) to Medina deputed a teacher, there to arrange the education of the believers. After the Hijrat, the Prophet’s Mouse in Medina became the center of education. A covered platform called Suffa, was built in front of the Prophet (peace be upon him) house to give instructions in the Quran and Hadith. On the other hand the Prophet’s wives (MAPT) were in charge of the education of women.
The foundations laid by Hadith and Sunnah for Islamic education is that children should not only be taught theoretically but there should be a practical guidance for them to adapt in practical life. That is why prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was given the task to teach his companions, Quran, practically.
There are hundreds of Hadith which emphasize on necessity and supreme value of gaining knowledge. Some of them are the following:
· He dies not who takes from learning.
· The ink of the scholar is more holy than the blood of the martyr.
· He who leaves home in search of knowledge walks in the path of Allah.
· The acquisition of knowledge is a duty incumbent on every Muslim male or female.
· Seek after knowledge even though it may in China.
· To be present in a circle of learned men is better than prostrating oneself in prayer a thousand times or visiting a thousand sick persons and attend a thousand funerals.
· A word of wisdom is like the lost treasure of a believer who has got the best right to secure it wherever he might have found it.
In Islam to acquire knowledge is an act piety, he/she who speak of it praise Allah, he/she who seeks it adores Allah and he/she who imparts it performs an act of devotion.